Are Those Real People Inside My DS?
July 3, 2007 – With a game like Code Lyoko, which is a game based on a popular cartoon series, you must be familiar with the cartoon that it’s based on. There is a lot of implied meaning in the game and references that players won’t get if they’re unfamiliar with the series. You don’t have to know anything about the series to play the game, it just gives the experience more dimension if you do. The premise may seem a bit complex at first, but it’s pretty standard fare, if not a little bit limiting.
Code Lyoko is actually a French-produced cartoon, but you would swear it was created in Japan as it pulls off a flawless anime impersonation. If I didn’t look this up on the net, I would have never known. Code Lyoko is a story about a group of friends that that can enter into virtual reality with the aid of a supercomputer. This virtual reality world is called Lyoko. Here they assume powerful and unique identities with different skills and abilities that they use to do battle with an evil entity named Xana. This digital demon is not content with taking over the supercomputer that generates Lyoko, he wants to take over the real world. With the aid of ports, called towers, that link the virtual and real world, Xana is able to activate them so that he can begin to spread his virus to take control of the planet. The group will attempt to deactivate these towers while doing battle with Xana and his underlings.
Jeremie, Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi are the four teenage friends. They are students at Kadic Junior High where there identities as cyber heroes are unknown. They attempt to keep their identities a secret by being able to travel back in time to erase peoples’ memories of events when Xana’s attacks reach the real world.
Using episodes from the series, the game consists of some 15 different levels. Each of them is quite large and diverse. At the start of each level you will investigate your surroundings by conversing with people and collecting items in a point-and-click, adventure style of gameplay. There is plenty of text to digest and not all of it is important, in fact most of it is just filler. You’ll run into some interesting characters and conversations, in addition to picking up some interesting items that you can use later. The graphics that represent the real world are flat and uninspiring, but that all changes when you enter in the surreal world of Lyoko.
Once you enter into this 3D-cyber world, you’ll also enter into battle mode. Each of the characters has different abilities that you’ll have to exploit to tackle the situations you’ll encounter and take on the different enemies. You’ll use martial arts-style attacks in addition to weapons such as a cyber sword. Utilizing the various power-ups, each character can basically hold his or her own against virtually any threat. But these characters do have different abilities such as the ability to fly, levitate objects, run at lighting speed, and excel at ranged or melee attacks. Expect plenty of button mashing when it comes to combat and wielding weapons. The collision detection is too sensitive in some cases, registering some hits that don’t even come close.
The game limits your ability to fully explore all of the playable characters’ abilities. You can swap them at checkpoints, but not on the fly. There are also specific times when you can or cannot use a certain power. Flying always comes in handy but you’re restricted to when you can use it. The characters have a good assortment of powers, but the game decides where and when you can use them which is quite disappointing.